The Chennai Port Trust and its subsidiary Kamarajar Port Ltd have set a target of crossing 100 million tonnes of cargo in the current fiscal year, a senior official said here on Monday. Both ports handled 92.46 million tons of cargo in the last fiscal year, said Chairman and Chief Executive Sunil Paliwal.
On the ports’ performance, he said Chennai Port Trust handled 48.95 million tons of cargo, up 0.8 percent from 48.56 million tons last year.
Kamarajar Port handled 43.51 million tons of cargo in 2022-23, up 12.31 percent from 38.74 million tons in the previous year.
“Containers are the main cargo handled by Chennai Port Trust. It’s about 58 percent. While liquid and dry bulk also saw good growth this year,” he told reporters.
When asked, the chairman said exports of automobiles at Chennai Port Trust have grown over the past year after agreements were signed with several auto majors including Toyota.
Exports by these companies from Chennai Port have offset the loss incurred by US automaker Ford’s exit from Chennai last year, he said.
“The export of cars at Chennai Port Trust increased by 36 percent to 2,31,412 units in fiscal year 2022-23, compared to 1,70,482 units in fiscal year 2021-22.”
Kamarajar Port exported 1,48,307 units in 2022-23 compared to 1,35,702 in 2021-22.
“Together, both ports handled about 3,79,719 car units last year,” he added.
To boost cruise tourism, Paliwal said Switzerland-based MSC Cruises, part of MSC Group, is in talks with Chennai Port Trust to offer cruise tourism from the coastal city.
“They plan to have Mumbai as a hub for cruise tourism on the west coast and Chennai as a hub on the east coast. From 2024, they (MSC Cruises) can start operations from Chennai port,” he said.
Chennai Port Trust handled 37 cruise ship calls with 85,000 passengers in 2022-23.
In terms of financial performance, the official said Chennai Port reported its highest net surplus (profit before tax) in the last 13 years at Rs 150.26 crore in FY2022-23.
“This is a 33 percent year-over-year increase in net income for the final fiscal year 2021-22,” he said.
The highest net surplus achieved in Chennai Port would allow them to invest in the development of existing infrastructure projects.
Referring to the financial performance of Kamarajar Port, Paliwal said the port surpassed Rs 1,000 billion mark to reach revenue of Rs 1,002.45.
“This is an increase of 17.82 percent from Rs 850.84 billion registered in 2021-22.”
Kamarajar Port recorded a net surplus of Rs.669.93 crore in 2022-23, up 24.39 percent from the previous Rs.538.59 crore last year, he said.
When asked about ongoing projects from Kamarajar Port, he replied that the port’s cargo handling capacity will be expanded by building RoRo cum GCB-II (3 tons per year) with an investment of Rs 161.09 crore.
The Port of Kamarajar is undertaking a Phase VI capital dredging project to provide a draft of 18 meters to handle larger container ships at an estimated cost of Rs 549 crore, he added.
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